The second exercise for People and Place required me to select and photograph six very different locations with a view to finally photographing a subject, full-length, set in one of them. The reason for shooting the subject full-length was to give the location prominence, meaning I had to think carefully about where to take my shots. Things to consider when looking for locations were;
- Are they reasonably consistent in tone and features?
- Do they compliment or contrast with the person? Either can work.
- Do they need tidying or cleaning?
- Are there any unnecessary, distracting objects in view?
I started by taking reference pictures of locations that I thought of or come across (a good reason to carry my camera everywhere) and then decided on which location I would go back to for the final shot. I tried to make sure that I had a spread of locations, which included; industrial, water, natural greenery, buildings, sea and sand.
Below, in no particular order, are the locations and final shot with a brief description of each location and lighting conditions.
I liked the colours and run down nature of this old bowling alley. There were many opportunities to photograph a subject here. Lighting is natural and the shots are all external. I would have to be careful about time of day as most of the light is direct and wouldn’t afford too much contrast unless I took early morning or late afternoon. The subject here would be relatively small in frame to give prominence to the backdrop.
The natural overhang of the leaves on the left would provide some shade from the direct light making the exposure of the subject easier to control. However, I felt that the stage in the background was too much of a distraction, as the subject would take up a fairly large proportion of the frame and leave the staging as an annoyance.
The odd sight of fishing boats and industrial towers interested me. Ideally I would like to have taken this shot with a fisherman in one of the boats. Lighting is late afternoon and starting to lose its intensity giving me more control over the exposure.
I like the idea of taking an every day shot of an elderly couple sitting on a park bench holding hands. It’s something I may come back to in the future. The roof gives some shelter from direct light although does leave it quite dark if I am shooting from this distance. I would probably need some sort of reflection to pick out the subject from the dark background.
I loved the bright colours set to a ‘sand and sea’ background. Lighting would be key here as the light is extremely bright due to being on the coast. As you can see, although it is early morning, the post is already casting harsh shadows. I could possibly eliminate this by cropping out the subjects feet. The subject would probably be leaning against the post in quite a classic style to imitate the vertical nature of the image. There was also a lot of rubbish around the area that would need to be out of shot or cleared.
The cafe environment left the subject feeling relaxed and able to laugh and joke with me while I took the shots. He is dressed in relatively smart shorts and t-shirt to align with the quite smart feel of the cafe. Of course, it is still a very relaxed feel. This shot was taken at around halfway through the shoot, meaning he was still relaxed but not yet getting bored with having his photo taken. I have taken advantage of the covered area of the cafe which faces in to an open space. The sun was fairly high in the sky (it was about 1030, which in Singapore means the sun is already very high) and gives me a nice ambient, natural light to shoot. It also enabled me to stick with ISO200, which I was pleasantly surprised about and no tripod so I could ‘go with the flow’ and move as necessary. I have used a wide aperture to try and darken and blur the background. The background is fairly consistent in colour and tone and doesn’t detract from the eye. This leaves the subject the centre of attention. The height of the bar stools gave a natural way to make the shoot ‘full-length’ without having to make it look like that was the main objective. The smile of the subject gives a relaxed feel to the image. Other shots had him looking far more serious and reflective which completely changes the atmosphere. The cafe culture feel here is completed with the menu and ubiquitous mobile phone on the table next to the subject. Interestingly he is drinking a fruit juice rather than coffee, which says something about the subject and the cafe culture. The only annoyance for me is the other drink left of frame. It is mine and makes it look like the subject is waiting for a guest to arrive!
My thanks to Gary Batchelor for his time in this exercise.